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What Does it Take to Be a Good Leader in MY Company?

February 24, 2017


What does it take to be a good leader in my company? That’s the question Facebook asked recently.  Facebook wanted to better understand what makes managers excel within the company, so they conducted a company-wide analysis of its roughly 12,000 employee workforce. They first identified teams that were most engaged and happiest in their roles. Then, they reached out to the highest-rated teams and asked them what their managers did to make their work experience rewarding. Out of all the conversations, 7 common behaviors emerged as being important:

  1. Leaders displayed a motivation to lead. These managers were in the role because they found true enjoyment in helping their subordinates learn and excel in their roles. They displayed a passion for leading.

  2. Leaders provided subordinates growth opportunities. They were coaches. They provided their subordinates several chances for learning and development.

  3. Leaders set expectations and goals. These managers communicated performance expectations clearly. They engaged in participative goal setting with the individual and team to ensure they were working towards their goals. 

  4. Leaders provided frequent feedback. The feedback provided by these managers was clear, actionable, and frequent. Along the same lines, they created an environment of open communication thereby facilitating trust and transparency.

  5. Leaders created a pathway to success. These managers empowered employees, rather than micromanaging employees. They also provided employees support and coaching for stretch assignments.

  6. Leaders held their teams accountable. They held their employees to high standards, but also were agile enough to make adjustments for responsibilities according to past behavior.

  7. Leaders displayed a positive attitude. They provided positive recognition of excellent performance and achievements. They created an environment where success is recognized and celebrated.

Are these behaviors unique to Facebook? Probably not. In order to be successful on the job, leaders need to have skills in coaching, performance management, communication/performance feedback, delegation, and accountability. They also need to be a positive and motivating force. Finally, it’s critical to make sure that they are a good fit for the role. They need to have a passion to lead. Just because leaders have the ability, it does not mean that they have the desire to lead. While Facebook did not define high-ranking teams by performance, it’s very likely that if leaders exhibit these behaviors and skills, performance in their teams will increase as well.

As you seek to select leaders into roles or as you seek to develop your own leadership capabilities, take a close look at these leadership behaviors. Make sure job candidates have baseline skills in these areas and encourage developmental opportunities on these skills for you and your leaders.

Check out this whitepaper to learn more about what sets great leaders apart from the rest:

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Alissa Parr, Ph.D. Alissa Parr, Ph.D. is a Senior Consultant at PSI. Her areas of expertise include the development, implementation, and evaluation of assessment processes. Alissa has experience managing entry-level through executive level assessment and selection efforts across a number of different industries including government, financial, military, education, healthcare, and manufacturing.